Say what you will about conservatives and liberals and moderates and anyone else you want to throw in there, but in the end personal, political, social, economic and so on views are just want they are… views or opinions. They are what they are, and usually not correct or incorrect.
People usually don’t care what ones views are if the person is good, or in some why greater or larger than the situation. We want our politicians to unite us, even if we don’t see eye to eye with them. We want our bosses to be compassionate, even if your work environment is cut throat. We want our judges and law enforcement agents to be fair, even if they see something as personally wrong. We want our spiritual leaders to be spiritual, even if we don’t agree with some of their religious or doctrinal views.
Politicians like FDR and even Ronnie Reagan were able to do this, they were some how able to unite most of the country. Pope John Paul II was able to over come whatever differences in his doctrinal, moral, or social views because he was spiritual. His charisma, courage, and compassion didn’t hurt either, but he was some how greater than personal beliefs. So even if people didn’t agree with him on his political or doctrinal views, his spirituality seemingly over came all that.
Pope Benedict XVI has huge shoes to fill no doubt. And he closely follows the same set of doctrinal beliefs as JPII. But there in lies the problem. JPII wasn’t beloved because of his doctrinal views, he was loved because of his spirituality and courage and charisma and compassion among other things.
So the question now becomes, will Benedict XVI be able to become greater than being a doctrinal lap dog? Will he be able to connect to people in the Church? Or will he simply just be a political, polarizing figure?
Time will tell of course, but Pope Benedict XVI has a lot of work a head of him. Just as many people are shaken and upset by his election as are happy because he appears to be a man driven by doctrine. What he needs to show, has to show, is that he is a spiritual leader who is willing to let his doctrinal views be just that… personal views.